Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Sacrifice for the Mayan Gods - Watch the Fire Burn

I wouldn't describe this act as a pagan ritual, but out of respect for and in honor of the end of the Mayan Calendar Cycle tomorrow, December 21, 2012 [which some believe to be our imminent apocalypse or (end of days)], I made a sacrifice for the Mayan Gods.

Should mankind live on after tomorrow, I hope my gift to the higher powers will bring us good fortune, peace, and good health.

Watch the fire burn, and on Saturday, hopefully we can all dance together. Oh, and by the way, the sirens were indeed kinda eerie...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Doodle of the Day - Dealing with Rejection

Ah, the inevitable rejection. It comes in all forms. Maybe I like to torment myself. Because I seek it out a lot.

To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE

Friday, December 14, 2012

Epiphany - Illustration for a Short Story

Epiphany is a story about impermanence, and it takes place on a different planet, in a different age. The main character is some form of a creature, perhaps beast-like, who faces an ambiguous yet surreal predicament. It is a short story by author, John Janda, who commissioned me to create this illustration...

Acrylic wash and graphite on paper, 14" x 11", 2012.

Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Portrait of a Woman in Los Angeles

This portrait measures 36" x 32", oil on canvas. In painting it, even though the subject matter is a portrait of a woman, I am not interested in making it photorealistic. I am more interested in creating subtleties in color and texture, incorporating abstraction and a variety of both loose and tight brushwork. 

In the contemporary art world, there are a number of artists, critics, and academics who dismiss the idea of oil on canvas portraiture. To them, the idea is too old fashioned and antiquated. Some make the same declarations about the idea of painting. But I believe dismissing the idea itself is to mistakenly judge a work of art before it is even created.

Painting is not for the impatient, and with new media and technology now available to almost everyone, those who want a quick fix will glance over painting, unsatisfied. But the limitations of the painting medium must be accepted. Within those limitations, regardless of the subject matter, there are infinite possibilities. I believe painting remains one of the most complex forms of art for an individual artist.

Because it is such a complex game within a confined field, it is not the ideal medium for everyone. And because it has been a form of artistic expression since primitive times, the expectations are high, and only a few painters will be remembered. Those of us who wish to take a stab at that glory don't have a choice anyway, so it doesn't matter what anyone says in the end. We will paint nonetheless.

As society continues to evolve, so does art, and so does painting. Painting will always be alive to show us how people of the past viewed the world.

Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Doodle of the Day - The Origin of Cool

I think I figured out why smoking is undeniably cool. It traces back to our roots...

Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Your Drawers Need To Be Ironed

A quote I like by Banksy goes like this: "All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?" It appears many artists today have the misdirected notion that the ability to draw accurately is obsolete. They convince themselves that, since their art is not representational, they need not practice the art of drawing. They reassure themselves by looking at recent art auction prices of contemporary art, like Jeff Koons’s Tulips which sold for $30 million, or Gerhard Richter’s abstracts regularly selling around a similar price. It is easy for artists to be convinced by the spotlighted outliers of the art market, driven by wealthy businessmen who treat art as commodities (or as “poker chips”). Add that academics continue to declare that intellect, concept, and cognitive value are most important in a work of art, artists today quickly disregard the importance of being able to draw accurately. (The phrase "draw accurately" does not necessarily mean in a photorealistic style.) I believe all art must carry a certain high level of craftsmanship, and the ability to draw accurately is the backbone of the craft.

It is easy to forget that artists like Picasso and Richter have produced work which demonstrates their ability to draw exactly what they want.

So, I practice drawing regularly, either in the form of doodles or quick sketches. It’s like going to the gym. Certain skills need to be ironed out periodically. The following is an example of a sketch, about 18 inches tall, of a friend who agreed to sit for me for thirty minutes. A time pressured sketch of a live person is usually a challenge, as it requires a quick grasping of shapes and efficiency of strokes with the pencil...

By they way, one of the greatest masters of efficiency of strokes with the paint brush, Diego Velazquez, has a painting at the special exhibition on Caravaggio currently at LACMA: 

Along with Georges de La Tour:

Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Doodle of the Day - Be Mayan For Christmas

The talk of the year may be the end date of the Mayan calendar, December 21, 2012. Are we getting nervous? I was at the airport the other day and overheard some adults discussing it in front of children. It was simultaneously amusing and sad, and then this doodle was created...

Have a crazy December!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Art As Fraud, New Work, and the Richard Prince Copyright Infringment Lawsuit

I recently came upon a random billboard in Los Angeles which caught my attention and had me thinking about what art is:

What does it mean that art is as fugitive as fraud? Is it, for example, when we hear that a Picasso painting that he probably completed in a day or two sold for over $50 million at auction? Is it a reference to the billionaires who create art icons to use as status symbols?

My latest painting is depicted below. The computer screen hides the painting's real texture and size. The painting cannot be replicated digitally. And the color calibration of your monitor varies from computer to computer, so the colors you see may not be precisely what the painting is.

But I strive to make every painting unique in its own way, using only high end materials. They are not copies, and a print is inherently different from the original. The original is a product of tension, torment, conflict, hardship, study, cognition, confusion, understanding, love, empathy, and passion, completed over the course of about six to eight weeks, sometimes less, sometimes more. 

Where Eagles Go To Die, 45" x 38", oil on canvas, 2012. The current price is $1,790.

At what point does art become fraudulent?

Richard Prince is a contemporary artist, internationally renown, with a name that almost always has its place in contemporary art books. He's what is called an appropriation artist, using the work of others, adding a new twist, and putting a price tag of a million dollars. The following piece, for example, shows an original photograph on the left of a Rastafarian man, taken by photographer Patrick Cariou. On the right, however, is Richard Prince's appropriation of it, a work of art which sold for about $1 million! 

Yes, $1 million, according to testimony by Prince after being sued by Patrick Cariou for copyright infringement. Cariou has copyright ownership in the photo on the left which basically means he owns the exclusive right to reproduce the photo, including the rights to its dissemination, display, and to create derivative works from it. Yet Cariou earned practically nothing for this photograph compared to the fortune earned by Prince in the appropriated artwork on the right.

Prince never received any permission from Cariou to use the photo, but his defense is that the Fair Use exception applies.  

The goal of copyright, to promote science and the arts, is generally furthered by the creation of transformative works. Copyright law recognizes that artists are often influenced by others and use what others have created in order to build on it to create something original. An example is with Eric Clapton or Led Zeppelin appropriating rhythms from American delta blues to create new songs. Public policy views giving artists the freedom to build upon what others have created as progress for society, and therefore the Fair Use exception exists in copyright law. But there are requirements which must be met:

Without turning this post into a memorandum of points and authorities, in determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use, four main factors are considered:

(1) The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes: The central purpose of the inquiry into the first factor is whether the new work merely supersedes the objects of the original creation or instead adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message. The more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use. 

(2) The nature of the copyrighted work: Basically, to consider whether the protected work is of the creative or instructive type -- a distinction that has emerged in the decisions evaluating the second factor is whether the work is expressive or creative, such as a work of fiction, or more factual, with a greater leeway being allowed to a claim of fair use where the work is factual or informational.

(3) The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole: This inquiry focuses on whether the extent of the copying is consistent with or more than necessary to further the purpose and character of the use.

(4) The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work: The inquiry must take account not only of harm to the original but also of harm to the market for derivative works. Harm to the market for derivatives weighs against a finding of fair use because the licensing of derivatives is an important economic incentive to the creation of originals.

Applying the factors of Fair Use to Prince’s appropriation of Cariou’s work I will leave to the Courts (the Cariou v. Prince lawsuit has not yet resolved and remains on appeal). But a glance at the art reveals much: Cariou’s entire picture was used by Prince, as Prince added a few dabs of blue paint and a guitar.

Dear Reader, what do you think? Has Richard Prince defrauded the art world? Should he be entitled to walk away with the millions of dollars he earned appropriating Cariou's photos or should Cariou be entitled to Prince's earnings?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Doodle of the Day - Inappropriate Owl

A very quick doodle for a Friday morning. Don't be offended.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Doodle of the Day - Flies in Wine

The date was 10-11-12. I suppose it was a day of celebration for some :)

Cheers and Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Retraction Abstraction

Some things are best not put into words. The Retraction 912, 36" x 28", oil on canvas, 2012.

Top left detail
Top right detail
Lower detail

Monday, October 1, 2012

Philadelphia Museum of Art: A Review of the Extraordinary and Observation of the General

In my return to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, my spirit mimicked Rocky's triumph as I spent the day exploring the dozens of different rooms instead of sitting in traffic in Los Angeles. I was, however, hoping for a larger collection of contemporary art, but I'd wager museums like this one are hesitant to display much contemporary work until the art has aged and proved to survive the decades. Nevertheless, this museum is an inspirational place, full of extraordinary works from over the centuries and around the world. And while this post is an attempt to understand and describe what I found to be inspirational in my quest, my observation of the other viewers at the museum also gave me insight into the world of art.

It seems that the general public wants to be sure they can like an artist, and in doing so they look for clues such as conservative subject matter, an art degree, or an artist's ability to draw realistically in the traditional western style. To the general public, these are easy guidelines to rely on when determining what artists are likable. But these guidelines are human fabrications, and while guidelines are good for a functional society, they don't necessarily transfer over to good art. 

People want structure in life. They want security. Generally, when the general public observes art, they prefer to see objects that they can imagine putting on their walls at home. But their homes are places of structure, security, and refuge. Most people want to decorate their homes and create comforts, and maybe this is a reason why the most trafficked areas at the museum were around impressionist and post-impressionist paintings (Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, etc.) of gardens, flowers, boaters, pleasant women, and beautiful landscapes.

In the practice of law, indeed it is structure, logic, and reasonableness that are important. These are important in almost all aspects of society but often erroneously carry over to art appreciation. Humans are more complex than these artificial constructs and institutions, and art must therefore not be inhibited by such falsities.

Many successful artists have broken free of structures in creating work representative of the human condition. Museums continue to fill rooms with strange works that contradict feelings of warmth and safety of the home. Picasso was a great artist because he led the charge in tearing down certain walls and crossing boundaries with his wide range of inventing new styles. The viewer must also free himself of shackles. Painting must not be judged by its ornamental qualities.

The most obvious reaction I perceived came from a guy at the Cy Twombly room, located off the very end of the hallway of the "Contemporary and Modern Art" wing. Cy Twombly (1928-2011) was known for creating huge canvases covered in scribbles and scrawls using crayons and graphite. As I walked down the hallway toward the room, a guy was walking with a woman next to me. He said to her, "Let's see if there's anything else down here." He paced to the end of the hallway and glanced into the Twombly room, frowned, and immediately said: "No, there's nothing down here." And they left.

I kept walking and entered the room solo:

The following painting, called Fifty Days at Iliam: Achaeans In Battle (1978), shows Twombly's influence from Greek mythology.

I'm not writing this attempting to defend Twombly's work as good art, but I was more interested in the stranger's lightning quick decision to disregard the entire room before even setting foot in it. The graffiti-like scribbles did not conform to his traditional notions of what a painting should be, so he basically gave it the middle finger and stormed off.

Certainly museums would bore us to death if everything in it was an impressionist painting. What I appreciate about Twombly's work (perhaps symbolized by its location in the last room at the very end of the hallway) is that it sits at the end of the spectrum of the norm's expectation of what a painting should be. In that regard, his work is similar to the famous Fountain, by Marcel Duchamp, also at the Philadelphia Museum: 

As mentioned above,  the "Contemporary and Modern Art" wing didn't actually exhibit much contemporary art in my visit, but the museum did have a large room full of paintings by contemporary artist Sean Scully. I was previously unfamiliar with his work, but these giant paintings, created within the last decade, immediately captured my attention:

While the idea of rectangular fields of color reminded me of Rothko, the number of fields juxtaposed in two or three vertical or horizontal groups, almost like national flags, in varying shades, tones, and hues, resonated like a piano composition.

From a distance, the paintings may appear to merely consist of rectangles, but upon closer examination of the surface, more is to be discovered in the layers of paint and process of creation. The color fields are not flat; they are layered with soft and blurred edges, and they exemplify effective use of gray and mud-color in making others appear more vibrant. This is the stuff that ignites my fire:

Moving along to the rooms with old European paintings, I searched for the museum's revered Rubens, but when I found it, although masterful, my attention was drawn to a different piece in the same room, a large painting (approx. 6 feet x 10 feet) by Pacecco de Rosa from the year 1640, Massacre of the Innocents:  

While this dramatic biblical theme could be considered typical of Baroque art from that time period, this gruesome scene of murdering babies, detailed with blood, tears, and gray flesh, really is disturbing, perhaps one of the most shocking paintings I've seen:

But beyond the subject matter, the painting is perfect in its composition, lighting, facial expressions, surface texture, and switch between fine detail and wide brush strokes:

Further on the topic of religious themes, and in an effort to not write an entire book on my visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, I will conclude this post with a work from the Asian art section, a room from 16th century India dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu:

Each pillar was created with its own unique stone carving of deities and lions. Together as a whole, with the dim lighting and centuries-old stone simultaneously depicting detail and deterioration, the artwork instills feelings that a higher power is present.

When I left the museum, I walked back to my hotel in the rain. I didn't have an umbrella, my brain was exhausted and my eyes were tired, but it didn't matter. While the art at the museum is undoubtedly inspirational, it is not impossible. Salvador Dali once wrote that "Before all else, it is absolutely necessary that at the moment when you sit down before your easel to paint your picture, your 'painter's hand' be guided by an angel." Since we're all equals on this planet, this shouldn't be a problem. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Muse: Sex, Procreation, And Inspiration

The Voyage, 13.5" x 60", oil on canvas, 2012.

Paint is like the skies or the seas. It is the job of the painter, like a pilot, to understand it, embrace it, and navigate through it. Paint is open, free, and limitless; it can be calm one moment or stormy the next. Paint is like mother nature, and the painter is man trying to bring some control to it.

And on a smaller scale, paint is like a woman. It is the job of the painter to lead the dance and give her the opportunity to express herself in all of her beauty and grace.

The Voyage, left detail:

In reality, of course, paint is just a medium. But the metaphor is also real and I think a reason why the muse has become like a mythical goddess inspiring artists since ancient times. The muse creates an overwhelming desire in the artist to replicate her incommunicable effect through art. Painting, like poetry or music, is the artist's way of attempting to bring some control to her storm of emotions, to make sense of the ungraspable. She is in the paint, and the painter is seeking to find her, recreate her, love her, and allow her to express herself. 

I have inquired in the past about why we make art. What's the point, right, since art doesn't appear to fulfill any physiological need. But maybe it does, on a subconscious level, for the artist at least. Artistic inspiration is often derived from a muse of some kind, even if the muse is someone who has no idea the effect she is creating. (It seems that the stereotypical muse is someone who has a personal relationship with the artist, as in a mistress, but in my experiences, I have found that many times the muse is someone who remains distant, even if our connection is fleeting -- not all of us artists are womanizers like Picasso -- and sometimes the most fleeting encounters carry the most mystery and intrigue.) So, perhaps art is a form of the innate drive to procreate. I don't mean to say that every artist desires to have kids, nor do I agree with the Freudian concept that all art is sexual in nature, as certainly art can be inspired by other things, like death, struggle, and inequality, yet the urge to procreate in its most primitive form can be enough to inspire an artistic masterpiece.

The Voyage, middle detail: 

But artistic inspiration from the muse is not limited to sexual energy. She is representative of the beautiful things we may discover in nature but cannot grasp, and her energy blooms within the artist, creating within him the desire to give his love to the world.
And because mother nature will never be conquered by man, it is a reason why painting will live on forever.

The Voyage, right detail: 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Season and New Sculpture

The Head of Something Unreal, 20" x 15", acrylic on shaped foam, canvas, and epoxy resin with steel armature and steel chain, mounted on wood panel, 2012. (Click on the image for larger view.)
It's been a while since I've created any sculptures, but sometimes it comes in waves, just like my cartoons and stop motion videos, where I may not work in that medium for months or years, then something clicks and I immerse myself in it until it runs its course, or season. Certain mediums may be more effective than others in artistic expression. The choice of medium itself provides content in a work of art.

In this piece, the content is something more metaphorical than the simple representation of skull pieces from some strange beast. The artwork is somewhat of a hybrid between representation and abstraction.

I'm not trying to be cryptic about what it is, or what it is supposed to be. And I know that nobody will really understand it or me. In that regard, it makes what I do a bit frustrating. But we as artists create art as a form of communication that cannot be expressed in language. If it could be expressed in language, then there would be no point in creating it, as we could simply resolve to writing it.

There's nothing more to write.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Doodle of the Day - The Existential Sheep

Oh, you poor sheep...

Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Art, Life, and the Pendulum

The Pendulum, 39" x 60", oil on canvas, 2012. 

DJ Pauly D is famous. He made millions of dollars as a character on MTV's reality show Jersey Shore, and he makes millions as a DJ. And like most pop music, his songs have catchy beats and straight-forward lyrics: "I've partied all over the world, but not like this/ This is the night of my life, this is the night of my life..." Fun stuff, I guess.

But I don't consider DJ Pauly D to be an artist. He is a successful businessman and entertainer. His songs, like most pop songs, grab your attention immediately and are easy to understand, like the bling hanging around his neck. The music gets people to take tequila shots, bounce around, and forget about everything.

Likewise, a painting with bright colors, such as the work by Thomas Kinkade (rest in peace) is catchy on its surface and has a decorative charm. But life is not always so happy and innocent, and real art, to me, is not so simple or superficial. Real art should move people on a deeper level.  

Life is full of complexities, subtleties, ambiguities, and contradictions.  This seems to be who we are as people, as it is apparent in each of our individual personalities, and even as we try to make rational sense of the external world, it too is full of irrationalities. It is layers and levels; it is dark and disturbing, or it is bright and joyful; it is hot, or it is cold; it is high, or it is low. 

What keeps a viewer's eye on a painting is a depth of field, an inexpressible ambiguity, a suggestive subtlety, a surreal complexity. Good art should represent the depths of our souls.

The Pendulum, detail:

The Pendulum, detail:

The Pendulum, detail:

Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Monsters At LACMA, And Chris Burden Art Review

The Inexplicable has prevented me from creating anything worth a damn lately. Maybe it's them dog days of summer that has my bones in a rut. I tried fighting it by going to a couple Los Angeles art galleries for inspiration, but the energy (or lack thereof) in the ones I visited simply got me tired. (On that thought, I wonder if a gallery kept a constant flow of pure oxygen into the display rooms, would this hype people up and increase sales even if the art sucks?)

In another attempt to lift my creative spirit, I decided to visit Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I probably should have started here. It's right down the street anyway. When I arrived to LACMA, I stared at the monstrous fossils of a mastodon in a tar pit just outside the building. When I left LACMA, I sensed that the dog days may be passing...

Chris Burden's Metropolis II is currently on display at LACMA in the Broad Contemporary Art Building. Burden is a Los Angeles artist with international recognition, probably most famous locally for his sculpture, Urban Light, a collection of 202 vintage street lamps tightly positioned in a grid at the entrance of LACMA.

Metropolis II represents a 21st century city and includes 1,100 custom designed cars, 18 highways, and a range of buildings and structures made of various materials. The vehicles and trains actually move, and apparently, every hour 100,000 cars circulate through Metropolis II. 

My first impression of the work reminded me of when I was a kid building my own tracks and environments with Hot Wheels cars or model trains, creating trees out of construction paper, building mountains out of cardboard, and using GiJoes to tear the place apart. What a joy it must've been to be Chris Burden creating this sculpture. But once I got past the "fun" of imagining the creation of the artwork on such a grand scale, I began to focus on the concept.

Metropolis II is a simple idea portrayed in all its complexity -- today's bustling city of roads, buildings, highways, speed, and noise. While it is unclear to me whether Burden himself embraces or rejects the 21st century city, his model reminded me of a title of a famous painting by Paul Gaugin: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

I don't recall seeing one bush, one tree, or one natural living thing in Metropolis II. In the entanglement of metal beams, structures, and mechanisms, all we see is a mess of human fabrications. The natural world has been forsaken in the 21st century. Yet the piece as a whole resembles a living being with organs and a circulatory system. It is a giant monster...

On the topic of monsters, other art at LACMA that inspired me could also be categorized as extraordinarily frightful. The following are images of a skull rack sculpture and a memorial figure created by the Kerewa people of Papua New Guinea in the early 1900s:

While this Kerewa art may be considered hideous or grotesque, they possess the real, the truth, yet they convey the idea of supernatural powers. These were not forced creations, nor were they created for an art market. They were created based on passionate beliefs in life and death, and it shows.

And when I moved on to see some paintings, my attraction to the monsters continued...

The first is by Philip Guston and the second is by Willem de Kooning. Each artist is classified by art historians as abstract expressionist painters of the mid 1900s. In the choice of color and thick swaths of paint, these paintings are morbid, but when I came upon them, I stopped and stared. Something about the morbidity seemed natural.

Perhaps it was my mood, but I can't explain why I tended to gravitate towards the monsters. It seemed to be the theme for me, as these were the artworks I found to be inspiring. Maybe a byproduct of the Torment? I don't know.

Oh, and by the way, the most overrated piece at LACMA? Andy Warhol's tomato soup can. It's stupid.

Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Doodle of the Day - The Tormented Artist Cliche

somewhere in los angeles among the mix of actors, stereotypes, and expectations, there are creatives who think they need to play the role of crazy tormented artist in order to succeed. i suppose if you can play the part and mold yourself into that perfect cliche, people might follow to embrace you as an artist. but for the rest of us normal-looking folks, we're just tormented. lol.  

i don't mean that we talk to little birds on our shoulders that only we can see, or that we cut our ears off and mail them to past lovers -- i mean tormented in that we are consumed by creation and destruction. put aside common money sob stories or substance abuse which may apply to people in any profession. art is not a "fun" pastime; it is a person projecting his anger, frustration, compassion, and love.

artists ponder their creations everyday, even during mundane daily tasks. they think about the next steps to take in the current pieces they're working on. they contemplate destroying their work. they struggle with insecurities about whether they have any talent at all. they question what the heck is the point of creating art anyway. they fight their feelings when the feelings disrupt the flow of a piece. or they barf up their emotions in the form of scribbles in their sketchbooks.

tormented in that sense.

i suppose a lot of my recent work isn't quite the eye-pleasing decoration that people like to put on their walls. fuck it. if i wanted to decorate i'd be a party planner.

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Work, Nietzsche And The Snakecharmer

When I was a kid I wanted to be a snakecharmer. Something about the danger, society's unexplained phobia, and the mystery of snakes enchanted me. I roamed the California hillsides looking for snakes and found several. Somehow I avoided the toxins of rattlers and only suffered superficial bites from nonvenomous serpents.

Years later I remain enchanted by snakes, but I suppose it is of a more distant respect for them. They remain mysterious. What they represent symbolically or metaphorically to people and in art and literature, throughout the centuries of our existence, continues to fuel my intrigue for the creatures.

Snakes have been the subjects in art around the world since primitive times. What is it about snakes that has bewitched our cultures? Perhaps it is that snakes are primitive. But I think it is also more than just that - snakes are symbolic of the truth.

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: "The truth is ugly: we have art so that we are not ruined by the truth."

The Snakecharmer, 45" x 36.5", oil on canvas, 2012.

The following are details of the painting, click on image for larger view:

And this is what the painting looked like at a very early stage:

Thank you for reading about the paintings, sculptures, drawings, works in progress, reviews, Doodle of the Day, and other art by Los Angeles artist Lucas Aardvark Novak. To see older blog posts and other doodles, click HERE :)